Treasures from God’s Word and Digging for Spiritual Gems – “Your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 1-2)

Mark 2:23-27

What is the principle that Jesus brought out here? In verse 27 he says “The Sabbath came into existence for the sake of man, and not man for the sake of the Sabbath.” Why did Jesus say this? It was in response to the Pharisees criticism of his disciples plucking and eating grain on the Sabbath. They added tradition and laws to the Mosaic Law which forbade working on the Sabbath. As Jesus implied the purpose of the Sabbath was so that the Israelites did not work 24/7 as the modern saying is. Nor could they force any employees or slaves. It was to give them time to learn about and worship Jehovah as well. But the law was never intended to stop someone very hungry from making a meal or snack for themselves. Especially more so if live were involved. There were provisions in the Mosaic Law that made exemptions for dealing with accidents and emergencies both with animals and people.

As Christians we have respect for life just as the Israelites had respect for the Sabbath and life. That is why the law to pour away the blood of any animal killed was given. It was not to be used as a food or for enjoyment.

However, that even laws that forbade anyone but the priests eating food set aside as an offering to Jehovah, allowed for non-priests to eat without punishment in life threatening circumstances. (1 Samuel 21:4-6, Matthew 12:1-8) (Blood is not consumed by the body in a transfusion.)

In the first century a popular tradition had sprung up to rush into the arena and drink the blood of dying gladiators to cure epilepsy, or to acquire the strength of the gladiators. This practice would have been covered by the recommendation in Acts 15:28-29 as it was (a) based on superstition not fact, and (b) actually showed disrespect for the life of the dying gladiator and (c) was not life-saving. However it is difficult to see how these verses were ever intended to cover the modern invention of blood transfusions. Blood transfusions are a whole topic in themselves, and while it would be wrong to offer advice, surely it should be a conscience matter. It should not be an enforced and enforceable law in the congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses, which if contravened leads to expulsion and shunning.

Jesus, The Way (jy Chapter 17) –He teaches Nicodemus at Night

Jesus tells Nicodemus that in order to enter the Kingdom of God, a person must be “born again.”​—John 3:2, 3.”

Today some Christians talk of themselves as ‘born again Christians’, but what does it mean to be born again? It is interesting to examine the Greek phrase translated “born again”. The Kingdom Interlinear like other interlinear says “should be generated – from above”. That ties in with verse 5 where Jesus goes on to say “unless anyone is born from water and spirit he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God”. In Greek this could have been a deliberate play in words by Jesus. The word translated as generated or born is used to mean ‘to bear a child’. Ancient birthing techniques meant it was often described as dropping a child, equivalent to coming from above. That is why Nicodemus asked “How can a man be born again?” as that is what he understood. Yet Jesus clearly went on to emphasise the role of the Holy Spirit which also came from above, only much higher.

Jesus says: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so the Son of man must be lifted up, so that everyone believing in him may have everlasting life.”​—John 3:14, 15.

“Long ago those Israelites who were bitten by poisonous snakes had to look at the copper serpent to be saved. (Numbers 21:9) Similarly, all humans need to exercise faith in God’s Son to be saved from their dying condition and to gain everlasting life.”

Note there were not two destinations highlighted as part of the free gift for putting faith and belief in Jesus. The gift was the same for all, “everlasting life”.